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The paparazzi and protecting children's privacy: Weller and another v Associated Newspapers

In Weller & Ors v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2014] EWHC 1163 (QB), the publishers of the Mail Online were ordered to pay damages in the sum of £10,000 after musician Paul Weller, acting as a litigation friend for his children, brought a claim against the newspaper for misuse of private information and a breach of Data Protection Act 1998.  The Mail Online photographed and published pictures of Mr Weller and his three children shopping and eating in a café in California.  Despite the Mail Online removing the published images a day after they were uploaded, Mr Weller argued that by identifying his children by their surname and failing to pixelate the published images of his children – the Mail Online had breached his children’s rights. 

The Court agreed with Mr Weller stating that the children’s article 8 rights (to private and family life) under the Human Rights Act 1998 were more important than the newspaper’s article 10 rights (to freedom of expression).  Mr Justice Dingemans took account of the fact that the photographs and its publication did not contravene any Californian law, but decided that that ‘did not affect the claimant having a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to their publication in the English jurisdiction’. 


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